Meatless Monday: Cottage Peach Smoothie & What we Are Eating

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When it comes to making breakfast for the family, I really try and ensure it is balanced.  I know there are a lot of smoothie recipes and people who use their vitamix and juicers to make a nice beverage, but when I make a smoothie I want it to be of high nutritional content.  This is one reason you will never find a smoothie recipe I create that uses water.  As a dietitian in a nursing home you start to learn a lot about puree food.  One of the most important factors in serving puree is to ensure you give your customers the most bang for their buck.  Appetites vary so you want to make sure even the smallest appetite is getting an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.  Water is great at thinning food when you need to change the consistency but it also lessens the nutritional content.  I prefer to use juice, dairy, or dairy alternative beverage.  This was how I taught cooks and dietary aides to make puree, and I use the same concept when I feed my family a liquid meal.

In addition to a nutritional beverage I sometimes add some yogurt as well.  I love greek yogurt but I know it has a tanginess that is not always ideal in all smoothies.  The other day I found some of the peaches we picked this summer in the freezer and decided it had been a few weeks since we had that summer flavor.  When I think of peach smoothies, I tend to think sweet as they are a sweet fruit especially when perfectly ripe.  As I began to add ingredients to the Vitamix, I was torn between greek yogurt or just using fruit in addition to the almond milk.  Then it caught my eye – cottage cheese.  Recently we discussed that I have a new found love for ricotta cheese and you find it in a lot of recipes where it is made to be sweet, but cottage cheese, I was not sure.  Of course then I realized I have a great kugel recipe that calls for cottage cheese and one of Little Miss Mixtures favorite things is cottage cheese with applesauce and cinnamon, so I figured it could not be too bad.  It definitely was not bad in fact it was really good. The cottage cheese helped to thicken the smoothie slightly while of course increasing the protein and calcium content as well.

As I sit here writing about this I realize how nice these same flavors would be using apple or pumpkin instead of peaches.  A perfect Fall flavored smoothie.

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Cottage Peach Smoothie

1/4 cup Almond Milk, Vanilla

1/3 cup Cottage Cheese

1 fresh banana

1 cup Frozen Peach Slices

1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

 

What we are eating (September 14 – September 20) 

Sunday – Leftovers

Monday – Roasted Mushroom & White Bean Puree (Cooking Light)

Tuesday – Ground Chicken Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning

Wednesday – A version of this Chopped Salad 

Thursday – Patty Melt with Waldorf Salad

Friday – Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, Organic Trader Joe Corn Chips, Fruit

Saturday – Night Out

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  Looking for some more Smoothies that are packed with protein.  Check these out.

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Protein Packed Smoothie

IMG_3192Protein Power Green Smoothie

 

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

Image 3I promised summer recipes this week and I am not sure you can get more summer than a recipe that involves peaches and watermelon.   You also cannot get much easier than a fresh breakfast in less than 15 minutes.

So many fruits these days are available year round in the stores. But luckily for us there are some items that are not quite as easy to transport long distances. Thus peaches are rarely seen in the depth of winter, even here in the south.

However in between late June and August the peaches are abundant at the local stores and the farmers markets. I prefer to buy any local produce at the farmers markets, but in this case I went straight to the source. We are still enjoying the peaches that we picked ourselves in July. Of course peaches have a short shelf life, so our enjoyment of them now is taking them from the freezer. They still have a great flavor and in the case of a smoothie, in order to get the right consistency you need something frozen.

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There are quite a few smoothie recipes out their that incorporate ice to get a smoothie cold and slightly slush like, but as a dietitian and having a background working with puree food, I just cannot do it.  I see no reason to water down anything and decrease the nutritional value.  If I want a icy type item sure, but when it comes to breakfast and trying to get nutrients into my family I will always use frozen fruit.  In the case of this smoothie, I needed very little liquid as I knew the watermelon would provide plenty, but I wanted to add some creaminess so I grabbed the milk container.  Almond milk would also go nicely with this combination of fruit, adding a nutty undertone and keeping it dairy free.

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This morning I whipped up this smoothie for us to enjoy.

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

1/4 cup Skim Milk

1 Cup Watermelon, in chunks

1/2 banana

1 1/2 cups frozen peaches

Blend and enjoy.

* Please note this measurements are approximate and yielded about 20 ounces.

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Gazpacho

DSC_0519Gazpacho is one of those things that I live for in the summer. It is the perfect meal on a hot summer night. For years it has been one of the reasons I needed a blender.  In fact there were probably a few years when I only used that trusty kitchen aid for a batch or two of this delightful summer concoction.  Of course that was before smoothies became more common in our breakfast rotation, and I broke down and got a Vitamix.  Regardless when the kitchen aid gave out last year around mid March, I knew I had to find a replacement before gazpacho season.  Thankfully when July rolled my kitchen was more than equipped to make gazpacho.

Over the years, I have tried several recipes.  For several years, I found no matter what combination of vegetables I used, I could not replicate the flavor of the wonderful bowls I would order at restaurants.  I did not like the recipes that used canned tomato juice, but found the need to try them in my search to find that perfect blend.  Then after having had a wonderful bowl at a Jose Andres restaurant in Washington D.C., I stumbled upon a recipe of his.  Funny thing was it was actually his wife recipe.  Well Thank you Patricia Andres because of you I no longer find myself searching recipes each summer, but rather I make batch after batch of this wonderfully refreshing cold soup.

I have always been a fan of gazpacho, and you will still find me ordering traditional gazpacho or other varieties when we dine out.  But I think this recipe is the one that made Mr. Mixture a believer in the soup as well.  No one complains when this version is served alongside some fresh bread.  I often toss a few cold shrimp in it as well like a gazpacho cocktail.

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GAZPACHO

Ingredients

      • 2 lb ripe red tomatoes(original recipe calls for about 10 plum tomatoes, I prefer 2-3 large red tomatoes and 1 heirloom)
      • 8 oz cucumber (about 1 cucumber or 2 kirby cucumbers)
      • 1/2 bell pepper (I prefer red, orange, or yellow)
      • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
      • 1 garlic clove, peeled
      • 3/4 Cup extra virgin olive oilIMG_3450IMG_3454

Directions
1. Cut out and discard the core at the top of the tomatoes, chop the tomatoes into quarters and place in blender and liquify.
2. Peel the cucumber(s) and cut into chunks. Add to the blender and liquify.
3. Cut the pepper in half, removed the core and the seeds and cut into large chunks and add to the blender mixture.
4. Once all the vegetables are liquified. Add the garlic and sherry vinegar. At this time you can taste for acidity. Based on the sweetness of the tomatoes the flavor may vary. If you think it is not balanced add a small amount more of vinegar. Sometimes I have added as much as another 1/2 Tbsp.
5. Add the olive oil and reblend to ensure it is mixed well. The original recipe calls to run the gazpacho through a strainer at this time. I have always omitted this step as I do not mind a slightly chunky gazpacho, and I find the Vitamix can liquify anything so it is the perfect texture for me.
6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
7. Top with any of the recommended garnishes or just enjoy plain and simple.

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You can garnish with any of the following:

          • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
          • chopped tomatoes
          • green onions or chives
          • Shrimp
          • rustic bread or croutons

* adapted from Gazpacho al Estilo de Patricia that appeared on delish.comIMG_3462

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

IMG_3219As I mentioned yesterday, it is the peak time to get cherries, so we stocked up.  I finally got some washed, pitted, and frozen so that we can use them in smoothies in a couple of weeks.  Talk about a mess.  I may rank pitting cherries up there with my least favorite kitchen task.  Boiling chicken is still # 1.  Regardless of how few or how many, I end up having to split some open because the pitter does not always work perfectly, so there is juice on my hands.  My fingers begin to look stained by the end of the process and the clean trash bag is now stained as if there was a horrible kitchen accident.  Luckily this time around I managed to not get the juice on my shorts.  As I complete this process, I keep picturing the episode of “I Love Lucy” where they crush grapes with their feet.  Okay I just dated myself some, but as a kid I loved to watch the “I Love Lucy” reruns that TBS aired.

Having made a really nice adult drink with the cherries, I decided to start our day on Monday with a family friendly drink.  Little Miss Mixture and I had somewhere to go, so it was a great morning for smoothies in the car.  Thank goodness the car is old enough I do not care about cherry juice and in a nicely topped cup the likelihood of a cherry juice mishap is slim.  I would never have fresh cherries consumed in the car in any other form.  Honestly I have often thought of serving them outside as I constantly fear the juice ending up on the upholstery or the walls.  I know too much information about how I may be a little too type A, but at least I can admit it.

We had fresh pineapple from Sunday’s dinner which gave me the idea for the smoothie; however I ended up using frozen to get the consistency I wanted.  This simple fruit smoothie had a bright and somewhat tropical flavor to it.

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

20 Pitted Cherries

1/2 cup Skim Milk

3 Tbsp. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 cup Frozen Pineapple

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.  Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a vitamix.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into about a 12 oz glass or split into two smaller servings and enjoy.

Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info

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Cherry Margarita

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Cherry Season is short, so when I found out the local Whole Foods was having a one day sale, I decided to stock up.

Cherries are not exactly the neatest or easiest fruit to eat.  I am sure some children and adults have mastered it better than Let’s Have Mixture family.  I have learned that Little Miss Mixture does best if I go ahead and pit the cherries.  Remember the recently painted house, well I would prefer to keep things looking crisp rather than have them splattered with a nice red purple color.  I seem to make enough of a mess pitting them for the entire family anyway.  Cherry juice does not come out of clothing very easily.

As I stared at the bags of cherries I purchased, I knew we could not consume them all and I should probably freeze some for smoothies.  Well I have not yet frozen them as yet.  Once I pitted an entire bag (2.5 lbs), I got an idea to make a fun drink for Mr. Mixture and I.  It was Friday and it had been a long week.  My initial thought was a frozen mojito since I have a plethora of mint in my barrel outside, but margarita seemed more appropriate for taco night. Tonight I did exactly what I always say about taco night.  I make my own seasoning without any salt, so I Save the Salt for the margarita glass.  Indeed I did and it was worth it. We had margarita on the rocks, it was a perfect accompaniment to a summer taco night.  Possibly the only thing better would be a frozen cherry margarita – definitely adding to my recipe must try list.

Fresh Cherry Margarita 

2 oz. Lime Juice

2 oz. Water

1 Tbsp sweetener of choice

Mix together the lime juice, water, and sweetener for later use.  I used agave so there was no need to heat the mixture.  If using sugar, if will blend best if you heat the lime juice and water and stir in the sugar until dissolved.

25 Cherries – washed and pitted

2.5 oz. Tequila

2 oz. Triple Sec

Puree / liquify cherries until smooth in a blender or vitamix.  Then add the tequila and triple sec and the lime juice mixture.  Combine all in a blender.  Wet the rim of 2 glasses and dip in salt.  Then fill the glasses with ice and strain the drink over the glasses.  I recommend using a small mesh strainer or sieve.  Enjoy.

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* recipe was adapted from a recipe on Confections of a Foodie Bride.